BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

October 26, 2005 12:00 ET

Coordination of Health Care Professionals Will Greatly Improve Delivery of Health Care Services-Says New BCMA Policy Paper and Research

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 26, 2005) - Chronically ill patients with diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among others, are the ones who will benefit the most from a primary care practice that includes family physicians working alongside other health care professionals. This is the key principle contained in 11 recommendations being released today in a report from the BC Medical Association.

Multidisciplinary Care (MDC) is a way that physicians and others can deliver effective primary medical care to patients. In this setting, a family physician leads an integrated team of health care providers that can include nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, and physician assistants, among others. With numerous health care professionals working together under one roof, or linked through information technology, multidisciplinary care will enhance patient access, enhance quality of patient care, and make better use of physicians' time.

Primary care physicians face a number of challenges when it comes to providing quality care to their patients, and although there are many inherent strengths in our current primary care system, there are also some failings. The report, Working Together: Enhancing Multidisciplinary Primary Care in BC, includes findings from a survey of BC's family physicians, is the result of more than one year of study and reviews, and concludes with key recommendations to enhance primary care.

"The BCMA is looking to work collaboratively with government to develop and implement multidisciplinary care in BC," said Dr. Geoff Appleton, a family physician in Terrace, BC, and lead writer of this report. "We ask that government consider what this report has to say and seek the input of BC's physicians. This report is about improving patient access to comprehensive care, now and into the future."

We estimate that 17% of family physicians in BC already practice in a MDC setting. These physicians believe that comprehensiveness of care, enhancing the coordination of delivery of that care, and improving patient access to health care is significantly greater than in the traditional family practice environment. Practising medicine in the MDC setting is not necessarily for all physicians. There is no one size fits all solution to reforming primary care. Multidisciplinary care offers one solution in which both physicians and patients can choose to participate.

"The 2003 First Ministers Accord on Health Renewal established funding specifically for multidisciplinary care. We ask that this funding, along with some of the $5.4 billion allocated to BC from the federal government for health care over the next 10 years, be used to enhance patient care and patient access in the primary care setting," said Dr. Appleton.

Contact Information

  • BC Medical Association
    Sharon Shore
    (604) 638-2832 or Pager: (604) 306-1866